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Small-Scale Fishermen Destroy Shrimp Farms
The Largest Illegal Aquaculture Complex in the World
On January 20, 2011, in the state of Orissa, in a direct challenge to local governments, hundreds of small-scale fishermen entered Chilika Lake, Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon, and began destroying the illegal shrimp farms built by influential politicians, bureaucrats, mafia and anti-socials. The lake, a Ramsar Site for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands, varies in size from 1,165 square kilometers in the monsoon season to 906 km² in the dry season. It has become a vast shrimp farm and has achieved the dubious distinction of being “the largest illegal aquaculture complex in the world”.
Biswajit Mohanty, an environmentalist and secretary of the Wildlife Society of Orissa, said, “I welcome the move of the fishermen. They have done at least what the state government had not been able to all these years. In fact, the state government should provide them police protection to complete their mission.”
Background: Over the last two decades, much of the lake’s shore, a breeding ground for shrimp, crabs and fish, has been converted into shrimp farms, destroying the lives of the local fishermen who have fished the lake for centuries. According to official statistics, the fishermen’s catch has fallen by more than 50% in just the last few years.
Orders from the Supreme Court of India and the Orissa High Court have demanded the demolition of the shrimp farms around the lake; however, successive state administrations, apparently under the influence of the powerful shrimp farm owners, never heeded the grievances of the local people or the court orders. As long ago as 1999, the demolition drive had a head-on confrontation with the local police and the shrimp mafia. Three fishermen were killed. Then, in April 2010, the fishermen began destroying shrimp farms again, but stopped when officials told them they would remove the farms within a fortnight, however, no action was ever taken, and the shrimp farms continued to flourish. That’s why the fishermen entered the lake in mid-January 2011 and began destroying the shrimp farms.
The Orissa High Court Steps In
On February 5, 2011, The Orissa High Court refused to interfere with the demolition of unauthorized shrimp farms around Chilika Lake and directed the state government to frame a detailed policy for protecting fishing practices in the area. The policy must ensure that no shrimp farms are set up within a kilometer of the lake as directed by India’s Supreme Court in 1996.
The Orissa High Court also asked the state government to remove the farms from the lake and provide adequate protection to primary fishermen of the area to carry on their traditional fishing practices.
The High Court said: “State government shall take effective steps to ensure that no aquaculture industry or shrimp culture ponds shall be constructed or set up within 1,000 meters of Chilika Lake. If such industries are already functioning, the same shall be closed down or demolished forthwith”.
Sources: 1. The Economic Times. Fisherfolks Defy Authorities; Demolish Illegal Prawn Farms in Chilika. January 20, 2011. 2. News.IN.MSN.com. Protect fishermen by removing Chilika Encroachments: Orissa HC. February 5, 2011.
Newfoundland and Labrador—Chitin for China
On January 26, 2011, the province of Newfoundland and Labrador announced that a 5,000-square-foot, shrimp-shell processing facility was being built in the town of Twillingate with the help of a $500,000 loan from the provincial government.
The facility will dry and compact shrimp wastes and ship them to China, where they will be processed into two products: a protein to be targeted at the aquaculture feed industry and glucosamine, a dietary supplement. The Eastern Star Group, a partnership between Canadian and Chinese entrepreneurs, will run the processing facility.
Information: Eastern Star Group Canada, Inc., Box 23216, BPO Churchill Square, St. John’s Newfoundland, Canada A1B 4J9.
Information: H&C International Co., Ltd., Suite 406, Sunshine Time Square, 624 Hu Angshan Road, Hefel, China.
Source: The Telegram. Shrimp Processing Facility Being Built in Twillingate. January 26, 2011.
Nova Scotia—Clearwater Seafoods Sells Branded Lobsters to China
On January 28, 2011, Clearwater Seafoods, the largest vertically integrated lobster company in North America, which sells premium lobsters based on the company’s access and ability to sustainably harvest prime lobsters from Nova Scotia, has announced the introduction of the world’s first branded lobster. The company’s message will appear on a patented plastic sleeve that goes over the lobster’s claw. It’s a safe and humane method that gives Clearwater the opportunity to put its brand directly on the lobster’s claw and into the consumer’s hands.
Ian Smith, Clearwater’s CEO, says: “All lobster aren’t created equal, and consumers often don’t know what they’re getting until they crack the shell. Canadian hard shell lobster is among the finest in the world. But, at Clearwater our passion for wild, premium, sustainable seafood means that we must go the extra mile to ensure our customers know that they’re buying the very best.”
The first market that will see the newly branded lobster will be China, where they will be arriving just in time for Chinese New Year celebrations [February 3-17, 2011].
“We’re very excited about this branding initiative and the China launch,” says Alice Tam, Director of Sales for China. “What better way to celebrate Chinese New Year than with a lobster that delivers exceptional quality and value? In China, 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit, but for Clearwater it will definitely be the Year of the Lobster.”
In other Clearwater news, GE Capital announced the completion of $167 million in debt financing for the Clearwater Seafood Income Fund. The proceeds will be used to refinance existing debt and provide working capital.
Information: Clearwater Seafoods.
Sources: 1. Seafood.com (an online, subscription-based, fisheries news service). Editor and Publisher, John Sackton (phone 1-781-861-1441, email email@example.com). Clearwater Seafoods Brands Its Premium Lobster; First Introduction Will Be in China. January 28, 2011. 2. Seafood.com (an online, subscription-based, fisheries news service). Editor and Publisher, John Sackton. GE Capital Completes C$165 Million Debt Financing for Clearwater Seafoods. Ken Coons (phone 1-781-861-1441, email firstname.lastname@example.org). February 4, 2011.
Shrimp Prices to Remain High Because of Demand from China
Japanese importers forecast high shrimp prices in 2011 because of strong demand from China. They also say that demand for shrimp remains strong around the world.
Masayuki Nakajima, director of Maruha Nichiro Seafoods, Inc., said, “We have started sales of shrimp to China from our Agrobest plant in Malaysia [a big modern shrimp farm]. Production efficiency at the plant is high because Chinese consumers have preference for head-on shrimp.”
Nakajima also expressed a sense of crisis, a fear that “Japan could be outbid in the international buying race for shrimp if exchange rates move toward a weaker yen in the coming year.”
Source: Seafood.com (an online, subscription-based, fisheries news service). Editor and Publisher, John Sackton (phone 1-781-861-1441, email email@example.com). Shrimp Prices Forecast to Remain High Even with More Volume Due to China Demand. January 31, 2011.
Andhra Pradesh—Virus Research
Professor Allam Apparao, Vice Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru Technology University/Kakinada (JNTUK), said plans were underway at the university for collaborative research with Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) for the development of novel and cost-effective antiviral technology for sustainable shrimp farming in India and Australia. He said discussions were held with Nigel Preston, a CSIRO expert on shrimp farming, on ways and means of avoiding viruses.
Each country will put up $2.6 million for the research.
Source: NewKerala.com. JNTUK-Australia for Collaborative Research on Shrimp Virus. January 31, 2011.
Assam—First Freshwater Prawn Hatchery
P.K. Barthakur, the commissioner and secretary of the Assam Fisheries Department, said, a freshwater prawn hatchery has been established in the state to popularize prawn farming.
Source: The Telegraph. Assam Hopes to Meet Fish Demand in 3 Years. January 25, 2011.
According to Simon Rabearintsoa, director of the Ministry of Fishing, Madagascar exports about 8,000 tons of shrimp a year.
Andre Dias, Director of the Unima Group, a shrimp fishing and shrimp farming company, plans to move its operations to the west coast near Mahajunga, where it has an aquaculture business called Aqualma that produces 60 percent of the 5,000 tons of farmed shrimp that Madagascar exports each year. Unima will close its processing plant at the north tip of the island, where it processed wild-caught shrimp, because of declining catches and increasing fuel costs. Its wild catch fell to 413 metric tons in 2010 from 815 tons in 2009. The reason: local fishermen are increasingly using fine nets in shallow waters to capture young shrimp before they reach market size. In total, Unima expects to export 3,655 metric tons of shrimp this year, and 3,748 tons in 2012, Dias said.
Source: Bloomberg/BusinessWeek. Madagascar’s Unima to Close Shrimp Factory in March. Hannah McNeish (firstname.lastname@example.org). January 26, 2011.
Farm For Sale
Shannon McGee (email email@example.com, webpage http://mgcland.com): I’m living in Mexico and doing some real estate work. I have a customer that wants to sell a freshwater prawn farm (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) for $2 million in Colima, Mexico.
• Eight ponds, 100 hectares, 280,800 square meters.
• Aerators, transfer pumps, holding ponds, a water level regulating system,
• Two guaranteed sources of water: an irrigation canal from a district lake and
• Concrete hatchery tanks.
• 60 minutes to Manzanillo, a major shipping port, 30 min to Colima, 3 hours
• House, offices, large warehouse.
Source: Email to Shrimp News International from Shannon McGee on January 19, 2011.
With its reputation for intensive shrimp farming, it’s not often you get to take a peek at an extensive shrimp farm in Thailand. This four-and-a-half-minute video shows the operation of an extensive shrimp farm in Samut Sakhon Province. The first half of the video is in Thai with English subtitles; the second half is a repeat of the first half, but in English. The video makes the point that the water quality leaving the farm is better than the water quality entering the farm. The video shows ponds, harvesting and sorting.
Source: You Tube. Extensive Shrimp Farm Management as Tool of Water Treatment. January 28, 2011.
Sea Cucumber Research
Researchers at Newcastle University are investigating how to use sea cucumbers in developing a more sustainable way of farming the sea. Sea cucumbers are not only a delicacy in Asia and a rich source of nutrients, but they are also an important part of the marine ecosystem. They patrol the seabed looking for organic waste products to consume.
Information: Matthew Slater, School of Marine Science and Technology, Armstrong Building, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, United Kingdom (phone +44-191-2225862, fax +44-191-2225491, email firstname.lastname@example.org, webpage http://www.ncl.ac.uk).
Source: Seafood.com (an online, subscription-based, fisheries news service). Editor and Publisher, John Sackton (phone 1-781-861-1441, email email@example.com). UK Researchers Think Sea Cucumbers Can Clean up Aquaculture Waste. February 3, 2011.
Alabama—Shrimp Poster Contest
The Alabama Gulf Coast Area Chamber of Commerce wants artists to submit original artwork for the 2011 Annual National Shrimp Festival Poster Contest. The words “40th Annual National Shrimp Festival” and “2011” must be included on the poster and it should be 18 inches wide by 24 inches high. Deadline: March 4, 2011 (only one submission per artist). The winner will receive $1,000.
Information: Ann Motes, Alabama Gulf Coast Area Chamber of Commerce (phone 1-251-968-7220, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: AL.com. Baywatch Calendar/Shrimp Festival Poster Contest. January 28, 2011.
California—Contessa and Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code
On January 27, 2011, Contessa Premium Foods, Inc., an importer, processor and distributor of frozen-food products, shrimp and many products that include shrimp, announced that normal operations will continue as it reorganizes under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. Wells Fargo Bank will fund its operations during the restructuring. Contessa’s major creditors are supportive of the reorganization and are working closely to maximize value for all stakeholders.
Contessa will use the reorganization process to reduce its obligations associated with a production facility in Commerce, California, that was built in anticipation of future market demand for products produced using environmentally responsible methods. Over the past few years, the global financial downturn combined with intense competition from well financed, multi-national corporations has made Contessa unable to profitability utilize the full capacity of the Commerce plant.
The company’s shrimp, seafood and private label business continues to grow and will provide the foundation for its return to profitability. “The agreement with Wells Fargo provides adequate liquidity for normal operations to continue without any disruptions to our customers, vendors and employees,” said John Z. Blazevich, chief executive officer of Contessa Premium Foods, Inc.
About Contessa: An environmentally and nutritionally responsible frozen food manufacturer, Contessa Premium Foods, Inc., imports, processes and distributes its products throughout North America, Europe and Asia, and markets to retail, club, food-service, and private-label channels.
Information: Contessa Premium Foods, Inc. (http://www.contessa.com).
Source: PR Newswire. Contessa Premium Foods, Inc., to Pursue Financial Restructuring. January 27, 2011.
Louisiana—WAS Meeting, “The Shrimp Book” and Other News
I’ve received a review copy of “The Shrimp Book”, a new book edited by Victoria Alday-Sanz, and plan to carry it with me to the WAS meeting in New Orleans. If you would like to take a peek at it, tap me on the shoulder, and I’ll let you borrow it for ten or fifteen minutes. Be prepared, it has over 900 pages and costs $321!
It would be best if you brought one of your children along as a deposit.
You can view all the 33 chapter headings and the names of the 67 authors at the website of the publisher, Nottingham University Press: http://www.nup.com/the-shrimp-book-authors.aspx.
Other News: Tap me on the other shoulder if you have news to report. Shrimp News likes to announce new products, services, meetings, publications—and especially, new scientific and business developments.
I’ve posted the preliminary program for the shrimp farming sessions at the meeting to the Background Reports Page of this site. You can check it out at http://www.shrimpnews.com/FreeReportsFolder/WASNewOrleansMarch2011.html.
Source: Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, February 10, 2011.
Nevada—Video—CNN Reports on New Shrimp Farm, Blue Oasis
This one-and-a-half-minute video shows Ganix Bio-Techologies’ new, 36,000-square-foot Blue Oasis shrimp farm in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Housed in a long, sleek, modernistic-looking, greenhouse-like structure covered with a tight white skin, the farm hopes to harvest 500,000 pounds of shrimp a year from modular growout tanks that hold 100,000 shrimp each.
CNN commentator Tom Foreman, an Emmy award-winning journalist whose experience spans three decades, anchored the video, saying: “Here each tank is an eco-system unto itself. Wastewater is naturally recycled in what they say is a chemical-free process and never dumped into the environment, but they won’t say much more about how the system works. That’s their secret developed at a remote lab in North Dakota over the past eight years. They will say that they hope to take the idea far beyond Las Vegas, putting these ‘fresh’ shrimp farms and new jobs near every major city.”
In the fall of 2008, Shrimp News interviewed Scott McManus, CEO of Ganix Biotechnologies, when it was considering building a shrimp farm in Michigan. I asked him about that tight skin he uses to cover his facilities. He said we’re using “Cover All”, a fabric that covers a steel framework. It’s used all over the world to make buildings. It’s a skin you that you put over a framework. It creates a warm building that can be heated efficiently. In fact, the manufacturer is in Saskatchewan, Canada, and they know cold up there.
Information: Scott McManus, Ganix Bio-Technologies, Inc., 10501 West Gowan Road, Suite 200, Las Vegas, Nevada 89129, USA (1-702-463-0500, fax 1-702-463-0600, email email@example.com, webpage http://www.ganix.net).
Sources: 1. CNN.Money. Small Biz Tips. Betting Big on Shrimp in Las Vegas. February 4, 2011. 2. Shrimp News International. United States/Michigan/Ganix Breaks Ground on Intensive, Indoor Shrimp Farm in Michigan. September 5, 2008.
Washington DC—NOAA Seafood Inspection Program
Part of the Department of Commerce, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) oversees fisheries management in the United States. Under the authority of the 1946 Agricultural Marketing Act, NOAA’s Seafood Inspection Program provides inspection services for the fish, shellfish and fishery products worldwide. The program is often referred to as the U.S. Department of Commerce (USDC) Seafood Inspection Program and uses marks and documents bearing the USDC logo.
The program, which helps businesses reach compliance with food regulations, offers a variety of professional inspection services on a fee-for-service basis. It also offers sanitation inspection and a wide range of other services, including system and process auditing of processing facilities to be designated as participating establishments. Product quality evaluation, grading and certification services are available on a product lot basis. Certain products may be eligible for stamping with official marks, such as U.S. Grade A, Processed Under Federal Inspection (PUFI) and Lot Inspection.
These services can be provided nationwide, in U.S. territories—and in foreign countries! All types of establishments such as vessels, processing plants, and retail facilities can receive these services. All edible product forms ranging from whole fish to formulated products, as well as fish meal products used for animal foods, are eligible for inspection and certification.
The program is the competent authority within the U.S. Government for issuance of health certificates for export of fish and fishery products to foreign countries. The official government forms and certificates issued by USDC inspectors are legal documents recognized in any U.S. court.
Information: U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA Fisheries, 1315 East West Highway, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910, USA (phone 1-301-713-2355).
Source: NOAA Seafood Inspection Program. NOAA Seafood Inspection Program/Protection Through Inspection. Website visit on January 26, 2011.
Hawaii—Earmarks and the US Marine Shrimp Farming Program
The United States Marine Shrimp Farming Program receives most of its funding through “earmarks”, special provisions in the law that allow Congressmen to direct funds to specific projects in their home states.
According to the following report from The New York Times, earmark funding has come to an end, at least for the next two years:
On February 1, 2011, the Senate Appropriations Committee announced it would ban earmarks in appropriations bills for the next two years.
The decision by the committee chairman, Senator Daniel K. Inouye, the nine-term Hawaii Democrat who is an expert at steering money to his state, means any spending bills that clear Congress should be free of the specific allocations for things like local public works projects, museums and other hometown initiatives eagerly financed by lawmakers over the years.
Mr. Inouye’s surrender came after the Republican majority in the House instituted its own ban on earmarks. President Obama had also vowed to reject any spending measure that contained earmarks.
“The handwriting is clearly on the wall,” Mr. Inouye said. “The president has stated unequivocally that he will veto any legislation containing earmarks, and the House will not pass any bills that contain them. Given the reality before us, it makes no sense to accept earmark requests that have no chance of being enacted into law.”
The decision clearly pained Mr. Inouye, and he suggested that he would resurrect the issue for another look once lawmakers of both parties grasped the impact of not being able to direct spending to favored projects in their districts and states. “Next year, when the consequences of this decision are fully understood by the members of this body, we will most certainly revisit this issue and explore ways to improve the earmarking process,” Mr. Inouye said.
Source: The New York Times. Senate Spending Panel Bans Earmarks for Two Years. Carl Hulse. February 2, 2011.
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